The pandemic has changed life as we know it in many ways, including making us lonelier and less connected, especially at work, according to a new study. Research from the scientific team at virtual coaching platform BetterUp finds that while most people would like to have more work friends, six in ten don’t socialize with coworkers outside of work and 22% say they don’t even have one friend at work.
While workplace loneliness was an issue before COVID, experts say remote work and social distancing have only made the problem worse. But even if you don’t work in an office full of colleagues anymore, these are some easy and effective ways to foster more connection at work.
- Prioritize connection over convenience - Companies are all about efficiency and productivity, they’re not usually concerned about employees feeling connected, so we have to be intentional about creating opportunities to bond with each other.
- Create space for the personal - Finding time for employees to connect and talk about personal details, like hobbies, family or weekend plans fosters better connection, according to occupational health psychologist Erin Eatough. She says it’s important to create those opportunities to help build personal relationships among coworkers.
- Find ways to bring out positive emotions - It’s easy to roll your eyes at ice-breaker or team-building exercises, especially with remote teams, but participating in good faith can help you learn more about your coworkers. “We just need people showing up with hope, with expectation, with a willingness to participate,” says friendship expert Shasta Nelson. “Deciding that you don’t like the scavenger hunt or other game but that you’re still going to participate can lead to opportunities for making new work friends.”
Source: Fast Company